Northrop to develop Web informatics center for virus research

Northrop Grumman will set up a Web-based bioinformatics center on viruses and infectious diseases for the National Institues of Health.

A team led by Northrop Grumman Corp. will help the National Institutes of Health develop a Web site devoted to virus and infectious disease research under a $16 million contract, the company announced today.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases selected Northrop Grumman’s Information Systems unit to build and maintain the online Virus Pathogen Resource Bioinformatics Resource Center, known as ViPR.

The resource center will include surveillance data, human clinical data, virus characteristic information, and genomic data available for various disease-causing viruses. It also will include research tools, and data storage for scientists.

The five-year contract is a follow-on to a previous five-year contract awarded to Northrop Grumman in 2004. Under the previous contract, Northrop Grumman developed BioHealthBase, a database of six high-priority pathogens.

Other team members are University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas and Vecna Technologies, Inc. of Greenbelt, Md. Work will be performed at Northrop Grumman’s facilities in Rockville, Md., and at the UT center in Dallas.

Northrop Grumman, which has about 120,000 employees globally, ranks third on Washington Technology’s 2009 Top 100 list of federal prime contractors for 2009.

Informatics has become a growing field for federal contractors. The National Cancer Institute is looking for an expert to develop common data elements across its cancer informatics grid.